Finale 2014 Music Notation Software - Academic Edition
- Easily arrange or compose publisher-quality music notation that plays back with world-class sounds, and share the results. From lead sheets and guitar tabs, to band charts and orchestral scores, Finale is the forward-looking choice.
- More note entry options! Play a MIDI keyboard, use a mouse and computer keyboard, scan existing music, or import a variety of file types.
- More sounds! With over 400 Garritan instruments and Human Playback, your music becomes a life-like performance.
- More powerful features! Enjoy Linked Parts, Music Educator Resources, Band-in-a-Box Auto-Harmonizing, MicNotator, Video Support, Tempo Tap, and many other innovative features.
- More Helpful Resources! Enjoy free support, video tutorials, and the industry"s best Help resources.
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Creating your musical legacy starts with Finale. Easily arrange or compose publisher-quality music notation that plays back with world-class sounds, and share the results. From lead sheets and guitar tabs, to band charts and orchestral scores, Finale is the forward-looking choice. Finale offers: More note entry options-Play a MIDI keyboard, use a mouse and computer keyboard, scan existing music, or import a variety of file types. More sounds-With 400+ Garritan instruments and Human Playback, your music becomes a life-like performance. Additional ways to share-Share your music with the free Finale Songbook iPad app. And only Finale can create Smart Music accompaniments. Powerful features-Enjoy Linked Parts, Music Educator Resources, Band-in-a-Box Auto-Harmonizing, MicNotator, Video Support, Tempo Tap, and many other innovative features. Help Resources-Enjoy free support, video tutorials, and the industry"s best Help resources. The all-new Finale 2014 now offers: Backwards and forwards compatibility! For the first time ever you can save files that can be opened directly in the previous version of Finale. Dozens of world-class Garritan Sounds, from several sound libraries, have been added. Easily create Keyless Scores. Expanded Link Parts, with far greater control over what items can be unlinked. More than 1500 worksheets, flashcards, and pieces of repertoire have been included as Music Education Resources. Improved Accidentals and Rests ensure you see perfect notation, particularly in music with more than one voice or layer. Beat-attached Smart Shapes including hairpins, trills, and other lines are quickly and easily assigned, both in terms of appearance and playback. Many core improvements, including a new audio engine, Macintosh Cocoa support, percussion enhancements, and a clean new look with updated palettes, playback, controls, mixer, icons, and backgrounds.
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So far, I haven't found anything, as a musician, that I want to do that Fanale can't do.
Foolishly jumping right in without reading the instructions, I found myself on an egg hunt, and a bit frustrated by the results I was getting. Then I discovered that the real secret to Finale, besides learning the vocabulary and all the buttons do, is to read the excellent instructions on how to use the "Human Playback" sections of the manual. Human Playback is how you can get virtually any effect you might like. If you choose "jazz" style in the Human Playback section, the software will even interpret and play a string of eighth notes the way a jazz player would, rather than as a straight classical player. Incredible, but true.
Example: I like Dixieland Jazz. I wanted a full-measure trombone glissando to open an arrangement. At first, I got no gliss at all. Then I read and turned on human playback, and, guess what? There was the glissando, but. . .not quite right. So, I checked out all the buttons in the Human Playback section, and there it was. Delay the glissando was checked, which started the gliss halfway through the measure. I unchecked it, and there was my full-note gliss.
I also had problems with the hairpins and other dynamics until I read the Human Playback sections. Now I find myself yelling at the 1st violins for not playing it the way I wrote it.
Seriously, if you're a musician who can read and write, I believe this to be the most powerful notation software in the world for the price.
Just be prepared to read through the extremely extensive help menus available. Doing that up front will save you a lot of time and frustration.
I view Finale as a lifetime of musical composition and pleasure, right here in my home office.
If you can afford it, go for it! Oh, yeah, their customer support is great, too!
One of my challenges was to sing the Handel's Hallelujah with the choir of the church using the original score. There is a great one available free of charge by Center for Computer Assisted Research in Humanities. It is a PDF of the famous Chrysander Edition. The only problem was how to make this PDF file into actual music without an orchestra. I also realized that without the actual score is quite difficult to sing it, due to the fact that all four voices have different timing, that is, the masterful piece is written in counterpoint. Also, with a choir of 20 people who don't read music, I figured that one way around would be to create a track with the piano part and one voice at a time, using a distinctive instrument such as trumpet, so everybody would learn his/her part individually. I create 4 mp3 with the piano and the individual voices, plus the whole orchestration. The score is still needed to synchronize the four distinctive voices.
I bought two programs, Sibelius First and Finale. They both have similar set of features, and, to be fair, Sibelius First is not exactly Finale's counterpart since Sibelius First is like an entry version into the full scale notation. However, the comparison is still worthy because the major differences between entry level vs. the full blown software is in their limits. For example, Sibelius First allows only 12 staves per page. Or so many staves per system, etc. Otherwise they do basically the same thing.
After 4 months of practice, practice and practice, I can say the project was successful and now we can sing the Hallelujah with realistic music and with the score and voices translated into Spanish. From now and one, I will produce the score for all our songs.
Software wise, this is what I found: Both programs are difficult to learn. The fans or both program are very vocal about the virtues and feature of either one. During my life as a computer guy I am used to deal with all kind of software, like word processors, spreadsheets, databases, network, Photoshop, programing languages, even music sequencers. Sibelius and Finale, however, are one of the most difficult computer programs that I have dealt with. Not only because music is a tough subject with many, many nuances and subtleties, but because the creators seemingly have their own idiosyncrasies on how to implement the musical notation task.
At the end, they are both tough cookies. So, why I give 4 starts to Finale? It has two features that Sibelius lacks. First of all, Finale comes with a sample Garritan Library which is a gorgeous VST (soft synthesizer) for orchestral sounds. A synthesizer in computer music jargon is a hardware or software piece that converts musical information into actual sounds. For example I send you a Do, Re, Fa, this soft or this loud, at such volume, during so much time, using this instrument (like violin. or piano). Mr. Synth, convert this data into the corresponding musical rendition. The input is music data, the output is the actual music. Garritan is one of the best instrument libraries (collection of orchestral or popular instruments) available at an affordable price. Ugly MIDI music sometimes is the result of a bad sounds library. The best ones try to erase the dividing line between mechanical sounds and live performances. IN MIDI the resulting music, specially with orchestral works, is usually as good as the quality of the used synthesizer.
The second feature that Sibelius lacks is an amazing technical support. If there is something that you don't understand about Sibelius after, I believe, 90 days, good luck, or you pay for a service subscription. Finale is a different class of tech support that should be a feature of any software. If you are stuck, you can call (toll free) or you can use the web site and create a issue. They answer in 24 hours and work trough your problem until is resolved.
Granted, the version that I have, Finale 2014 has still many issues, just as Sibelius do, but with such an excellent tech support, I am willing to wait for, perhaps, Finale 2016, knowing that in the mean time, I will not get stuck.
I am ordering a new sounds library: Garritan Concert and Marching Band II. This is just what the doctor ordered for my next project. Incidentally, Garritan and Finale works beautifully together, since they are part of the MakeMusic group. Garritan libraries also work with Cakewalk Sonar, which is my favorite sequencer.
Think of Finale as "Photoshop for Sheet Music" and you will get the idea--there is quite a bit to learn to increase productivity, but the quality of the output is superb. I love being able to quickly throw together new arrangements, and print versions in different keys with a minimal of effort, to try them out with singers.
I recently purchased a small Korg USB keyboard at Guitar Center to assist in entering music, and this has made a great improvement in speed. Consider an inexpensive USB midi keyboard like this if you enter lots of music.
Technically, the application is dated, and I hope that Finale does deliver their promised 64-bit version soon, hopefully without charging a huge upgrade fee for it.
Nevertheless, the application has one job to do and it does it very very well.